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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Student Employment > Graduate Assistantships

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Student Employment

Graduate Assistantships

There are four different types of assistantships at TC. Each type of assistantship will have different terms and conditions to which you must adhere. Note that our office is not involved in the hiring process. We process your benefits after you have been hired.

The new student employment policy went into effect during the Fall 2013 term. All students appointed for a RA, TA, and/or a CA position will be given a paper appointment letter and details regarding the policy. Those appointed for an AF and other positions (excluding DRF) will receive an electronic letter.

Research Assistantships (RA) [6422]
A Graduate RA will perform academically relevant research. He/she will receive a salary and tuition points.
  • The position is available to students who are registered for at least six credit hours (or the equivalent) during the term(s) that they are employed.
  • Fall/spring RAs typically work 15 to 20 hours per week for 15 weeks each semester.
  • Summer hires are limited. In this case, the student must work with a faculty member or an instructional staff member on campus during the assistantship appointment. Students work 25 hours per week for up to 12 weeks during the summer.
  • RAs may earn anywhere from $2,700 to $9,000 ($4,000 to $9,000 if you are receiving grant pay) per semester and up to six non-taxable tuition points for the year. The salary is taxable and is paid according to the payroll schedule in the TC Bookmarks section.
  • RAs may receive up to six tuition points for the year, but they cannot receive more than three points per term. These scholarship points will appear on the student's financial aid package.
  • Students who are interested in learning more about these positions should contact their departments directly.
  • Other permitted positions: CA, PTI, PTP
  • Total hours per week on average for all part-time positions held simultaneously cannot exceed 27.  Effective as of Fall 2014!
Teaching Assistantships (TA) [6422]
A Graduate TA will perform academically relevant services. He/she will receive a salary and tuition points. Teaching assistants typically assist professors in the teaching of the class, grading papers, running tutoring/lab sessions, leading discussions, and/or holding office hours.
  • The position is available to students who are registered for at least six credit hours (or the equivalent) during the term(s) that they are employed.
  • Fall/Spring TAs typically work 15 to 20 hours per week for 15 weeks each semester.
  • Summer hires are limited. In this case, the student must work with a faculty member or an instructional staff member on campus during the assistantship appointment. Students work 25 hours per week for up to 12 weeks during the summer.
  • TAs may earn anywhere from $2,700 to $5,000 per semester and up to six non-taxable tuition points for the year. The salary is taxable and is paid according to the payroll schedule in the TC Bookmarks section.
  • TAs may receive up to six tuition points for the year, but they cannot receive more than three points per term. These scholarship points will appear on the student's financial aid package.
  • Students who are interested in learning more about these positions should contact their departments directly.
  • Other permitted positions: CA, PTI, PTP
  • Total hours per week on average for all part-time positions held simultaneously cannot exceed 27. Effective as of Fall 2014!
Doctoral Research Fellow Graduate Assistantship (DRF) [6442]
Doctoral Research Fellowship positions were created to allow students admitted to TC’s Ph.D and Ed.D programs time to pursue their studies and begin their independent research. This will allow students to engage in original research towards an advanced degree. He/she receives a salary and tuition points.
  • The position is available to students who are registered for at least six credit hours (or the equivalent) during the fall and spring terms. For the summer, a Fellow does not need enrollment to maintain the position appointed through the summer.
  • Students holding a DRF may not work or combine the tuition credits/points with other scholarships and may not hold another position at TC, except course assistant (CA).
  • DRF students work up to 20 hours per week for the year, and earn anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 for the year. The salary is taxable and is paid according to the payroll schedule in the TC Bookmarks section.  
  • They will receive up to 24 points per academic year, not to exceed the billable credits per term, that will appear as part of their financial aid package.
  • The work being done must be beneficial to Teachers College.
  • Students who are interested in learning more about these positions should contact their departments directly.
  • Total hours per week on average for all part-time positions held simultaneously cannot exceed 27. Effective as of Fall 2014!
Administrative Fellow (AF) [6412]
An Administrative Fellow will perform academically relevant services. He/she will receive a salary and tuition points.
  • The position is available to students who are registered for at least six credit hours (or the equivalent) during the term(s) that they are employed.
  • Students with an AF typically work 15 to 20 hours per week for 15 weeks each semester.
  • If summer work takes place, the student can work up to 25 hours for 12 weeks.
  • AFs earn anywhere from $2,700 to $9,000 per semester and up to six tuition exemption points per year. The salary is taxable and is paid according to the payroll schedule in the TC Bookmarks section.
  • The first $5,250 worth of tuition points will be non-taxable and these points do not appear on the student's actual financial aid package. Instead, they appear as resources processed through the Office of Student Accounts.
  • These positions typically become available at the beginning of each term/semester. Newly admitted students should apply closer to the beginning of each semester/term. Please visit the TC Human Resources website to search for available AF positions.
  • Other permitted positions: CA, PTI, PTP
  • Total hours per week on average for all part-time positions held simultaneously cannot exceed 27. Effective as of Fall 2014!
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Policy Notes
  • Full-time students (12 or more billable credit hours) cannot work than 20 hours per week in Fall/Spring, and no more than  25 hours per week in the Summer.
  • Part-time students (less than nine credit hours) can only have one RA, TA, or AF per term, and can also hold these jobs: CA, WS, PTP, Interim, & PTI.
  • All part-time employees are limited to working a total of 27 hours, on average, amongst all jobs combined, per week.  Effective Fall 2014!
  • Graduate assistantship combinations (such as RA & TA, or TA & AF) are not allowed.
  • International students by US immigration laws are limited to 20 hours of work per week when school is in session.
  • The six credit hour or equivalent registration in Fall, Spring, or Summer must be maintained for the term of the appointment, otherwise salary proration will occur. The points are awarded as a true scholarship & will go towards tuition charges alone.
  • Graduate assistantships are NOT available for full-time employees at TC, Columbia, or Barnard.
  • Graduate assistantships do not receive any additional benefits such as health benefits, nor can they qualify for union representation.
  • Points are usually only available to be used during the semester of the appointment.
  • Salaries must be at least $500 per point awarded. 
  • Points are not transferable between academic years.
  • Financial aid tuition points cannot be revoked once the student has started the position, but tuition exemption points are governed by HR policies and can be revoked/prorated as determined.
  • All DRF, RA, and TA must be awarded points, unless fully funded already.
  • All graduate assistantship points are solely for tuition purpose (excluding fees), paid at the TC rate, even if a Columbia course is taken.
  • Graduate assistantship points cannot be used for tuition charges associated to courses that are dropped/withdrawn.
  • If RA, TA, DRF, and AF have other aid that is tuition-based, adjustments will need to be made to the financial aid package that may affect points eligibility.
  • Regardless of the types of and the amount of positions they hold, students are limited to a total of three points per term, six points for the academic year, for RA, TA and AF.
  • Students must be maintaining the federal requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress in order to be eligible for student positions and their benefits.
  • All first time employees in any capacity at TC must complete the post-hire packet for HR; only work study students receive this at the Office of Financial Aid.